90pc of Bala Balok schools ‘dysfunctional’
FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): The youth on Thursday claimed close to 90 percent of schools in the Bala Balok district of western Farah province were “dysfunctional,” a claim rejected by local education authorities.
The claim was echoed by members of a youth council from the district during a first ever debate with education officials in Farah City, the provincial capital.
The event was attended by hundreds of youth from the town and officials from the provincial education, public and information and culture departments.
Abdul Malik Jehani, the youth council head, said 90 percent of schools in the Bala Balok district were dysfunctional and some partially functional over the past three years.
He said there were 15 schools in the district and their staff regularly received salaries from the education department, but only three of the schools were semi-functional and the rest dysfunctional.
He said the partially functional schools were situated in the district’s Kansak, Nawabad and Sheikh Lala villages.
“Dysfunctional means only their structures exist but there are no classes. Teachers and officials of these schools live in Farah City and regularly pocket their monthly salaries,” the youth leader said.
Jehani said though Bala Balok was considered among volatile districts, the Taliban had not showed their opposition to education there during the past 13 years.
He claimed even the insurgents had advised them to talk to the education department on the establishment of a Darul Uloom (religious school) in the district’s Shiwan village.
Jehani said only a primary school was operational in the Sheikh Lala village, which he called a stronghold of Taliban insurgents.
He accused the district’s deputy education officer of having not visited the town over the past four years and was living in Farah City.
But Farah education director Eng. Mohammad Sabir Farooqi held the district administration responsible for the situation.
He said 15 schools were operational in the town, where 70 teachers had been appointed. “You understand that Bala Balok is an insecure area and we cannot travel there,” he said.
He said they had appointed an officer to monitor the education affairs in the district and the officer had been providing monthly reports to the provincial education department after signing them from the head of the district detective council and the district chief.
He said these reports said all schools in the district were functional and classes held regularly. The director said the district officials were responsible because if the schools were dysfunctional, why they had been giving them misinformation.
Balal Balok, which is 50 kilometres from Farah City, is one of the key districts of the province, encompassing 99 villages.
The Kabul-Farah and Farah-Heart highways pass through this district, where last week unknown gunmen torched a girls school in the Nawbahar area. The Taliban had denied hand in the arson attack.
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